The so called eighth worst Bible passage is perhaps one of the most famous in all of literature; “Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.'” (Genesis 22:2) This verse has been discussed so thoroughly throughout the years that there seems little need to spend much time on it here. But for those that haven’t given it much thought, here’s a brief analysis.
Abraham, as described in the Bible, was very close with God. He was considered a righteous man in God’s eyes. Abraham knew with all his heart, mind, and soul that God existed and that God was good. There is no debate about that, if indeed we are criticizing the verse in context. In fact, Abraham’s wife was old and beyond childbearing years when God promised her that she would give birth to a son. She laughed. But the joke was on her. At 90 she had her first child. Abraham finally had a son with his wife Sarah.
Abraham knew with 100 percent conviction that God fulfilled His promise and gave him and Sarah a son, Isaac. Therefore, Abraham knew God was good, and that He had given him a son. He also knew that God was the creator of all life. God and God alone can give and take life. Abraham knew this (we are not discussing you or me, we are discussing Abraham). So when God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Abraham obeyed. This was the God that gave all people air to breathe, food to eat, and an eternal soul. If you knew this with one hundred percent certainty, and yet refused a command from God, you would either be a fool or a weakling – even if it meant killing your child. I for one would be too weak. But God, knowing my weakness and ineptitude, has never asked me to do anything very hard. Abraham was neither a fool or too weak. He did as God told him and took his son up to the mountain to sacrifice him.
As we all know, the story ends with God commanding Abraham to stop and not to kill his son. God never approved of child sacrifice and even though God has a right to take any life He so desires at any time, he spared Isaac. The whole event was a test for Abraham which he passed. God knew the outcome before the event ever started. He knew Abraham had faith. Abraham also knew God’s other promise “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Either Abraham thought God would raise Isaac from the dead or in fact spare his life, as he did. Either way, Abraham knew every single spec of His existence was because of God. It is my understanding and belief that Abraham was one of the few men ever to have lived that knew and trusted God to this degree. It is a little incomprehensible to fathom such a trusting faith. But perhaps a faith worth understanding considering God, unlike Abraham, did in fact sacrifice His only Son.